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Thursday February 9, 2012 10:05

Tom - Nature Live: [Posted on behalf of Tom who is still asleep!] Good morning everyone. We're starting our chat session early so that we can get things ready and do a little bit of set-up and testing. Tom is due to join us later today, so if you are here early please come back about 15 to 10 mins before the scheduled start of the chat, which is 1 pm today.

10:07

Tom - Nature Live: In the meantime, Tom's latest blog post for day 3 is online: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/nature-live/field-work-with-nature-live? view=blog

10:07

Comment From waltersrobert Hi, Just a test to see if it works

10:18

[Standby] We're just doing a bit of testing before the start of the live chat: Tom is due to join us later today, so if you are here early please come back about 15 to 10 mins before the scheduled start, which is 1 pm today. See you later!

10:38

[Standby] The host is placing this Live Event into Standby Mode.

11:02

[Standby] The host is placing this Live Event into Standby Mode.

12:04

[Standby] The host is placing this Live Event into Standby Mode.

12:26

Comment From Jonathan NaturePlus Test question - Hi Tom, are you receiving?

12:29

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus I think Tom has gone for a coffee to wake himself up... send us a message when you get back.

12:46

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12:47

Tom - Nature Live: Yep - I'm here - live and direct from a freezing forest!

Comment From Jonathan NaturePlus Hi Tom, let's do some testing!

Tom - Nature Live: OK - this is my response!


12:47

Comment From Jonathan NaturePlus How was your coffee?

12:48

Tom - Nature Live: Lovely - well, it was warm so hit the spot! Little bit of rice and beans for breaky and I'm good to go.

12:48

Tom - Nature Live: my speed is 3-6 secs

12:49

12:50

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus OK, do you have a picture you can post and tell us about?

Tom - Nature Live: on the way! here's a image form yesterday

12:50

The flowers of Satyria warszewiczii, with edible corolla

12:51

12:51

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus OK Tom, that took about 1 and a half minutes for your reply to come through.

Tom - Nature Live: ok - just uploading a photo of my set up - it's a little precarious!


12:51

my set-up!

12:53

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Hello everyone from Chittlehampton and Burrington. If you've been watching, you'll see that it takes a while for Tom's replies to come through. We'll be starting in a few minutes.

12:54

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus In the meantime, Tom, how was your first night at the camp?

12:54

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton Hi we are the children at Chittlehampton saying hello to Tom.

12:54

Comment From Burrington School We are here Tom. The children would like to know if you have had chance to find any new plants yet? What's the weather like at the moment as it's -2 degrees here! Have you had any snakes in your house yet? Best wishes.

12:55

Tom - Nature Live: A bit cold but generally amazing - the hut is built out of wood and has a tin roof so the rains sounds incredible. I am in bunk which is really high so it's a bit scary! I'm going to make a film about the hut and post it for tomorrow.

12:56

12:57

Tom - Nature Live: Hello Chittlehampton and Burrington - right no snakes yet! I'm very relieved! Before I arrived I was mostly worried about snakes but actually the most dangerous animal is the Tapir – they are about the size of a Shetland pony and have an incredibly thick skull. They are so dangerous because they can charge at you, this is like being hit by a small car so we really have to watch out if we see one. I haven’t seen one yet – I’ll post it on the blog if I do. Have a look on the internet to see what they look like - they don't look scary but they are!

Comment From Grace Hi, Tom that's great you are here, we are missing you of course! In your picture, what does Corolla actually mean, and have you eaten one?


12:59

Tom - Nature Live: Yep - I ate one - not too nice, very acidic! A corolla is when all of the petals of a flower fuse together to become a tube. We have them growing outside our hut so I'll dissect one in the next couple of days!

12:59

Comment From Burrington School Are there any other animals you need to watch out for?

13:00

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus [Note: we are going to try and let Tom answer each question first before sending him the next one, so please forgive the pauses as his replies are sent back to us over his slow internet connection]

13:01

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13:05

Tom - Nature Live: There are snakes, jaguars and pumas to watch out for but generally they see you before you see them so they are not a risk. The danger is accidentally stepping on something so you have to look where you step. Our base camp was full of horse flies and they are horrid - we got bitten pretty badly!

Comment From Burrington School Have you found any new plants yet? Although you have only just arrived!

Tom - Nature Live: No new species yet but Holger has found 2 new records for lichens - that means he has found things that no-one knew where growing here. The scientists are just about to set off for the day so here's hoping they get some cool stuff!

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton Chittlehampton- have you seen any tourists yet?

Tom - Nature Live: No! We are completely in the middle of the forrest it would take about 12 hours to walk to the nearest place that had any people let alone tourists! Our co-ordinates are N: 09 06 41.0 W: 82 57 42.2 maybe grace can put that on a map so you can see where we are!

Comment From Burrington School What protection do have against the horse flies, and malaria?

Tom - Nature Live: There is no malaria here, luckily. We have lots of insect repellent but it doesn't seem to work very well! I tend to wave my hat around like a maniac if i hear a horse fly. Then i get tired and stop and it bites me anyway! You just get used to them!

Comment From Lincoln Hello, this is Lincoln Castle Academy


13:05

Tom - Nature Live: hola!

13:06

Comment From Burrington School Have you seen a favourite plant yet?

13:06

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus [Reminder: we are letting Tom answer each question first before sending him the next one, so please forgive the pauses as his replies are sent back to us over his slow internet connection]

13:06

13:07

Tom - Nature Live: mmm interesting I'm not sure if I have a favourite. There are loads of huge oak trees, some are over 50 metres tall and they are incredible!

Comment From Lincoln What do you eat at your camp?

13:08

Rice and beans on our very sophisticated cooker

13:08

Tom - Nature Live: rice and beans and rice and beans and rice and beans! Sometimes we add some tuna from a can or fried plantain (a bit like banana but bigger and you eat it


fried). I really like the food but it is very simple!

13:08

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Comment From 11DaviJ How many frogs have you seen???FromOur Lady's Abingdon

Comment From Burrington School Are there any plants with unusual smells?

Tom - Nature Live: I haven't seen any frogs yet but I've heard loads. I'll record the sounds and post them on the blog. Unusual smells, yes! Yesterday, Daniel (an amazing Costa Rican botanist) told me to rub the leaves of a plant and tell me what it smelt like - it was just like tuna! I'll just find out the name...

13:10

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton chittlehampton-we were looking at lichens yesterday in our playground for science.

13:10

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton Chittlehampton-are you likely to come across any new species?

13:11

Tom - Nature Live: the tuna plant is rupala montana! Lichens, yes we should find some new species, we'll also find species that you can find in the UK. I'm going to post about lichens next week so be sure to check it out. Holger, our lichen specialist is brilliant!

13:12

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton Chittlehampton-how many people are with you?

13:12

Comment From Burrington School What do you do about washing your clothes?

13:12

Comment From Lincoln Do you have to eat different things at different places in the mountains?

13:15

Tom - Nature Live: 4 museum scientists (Holger, Alex, Jo and Neil) – Daniel (a Costa Rica botanist), two Costa Rican snail specialists and 8 porters. The porters are incredible, they are young (maybe 14 - 16) and can carry amazing amounts up the mountain. Washing is very difficult because it is so damp - my feet smell very cheesy! We have a pipe from a river which we can wash under (freezing) but clothes is difficult. We might boil up some water on the fire to wash them next week!


Same food everywhere, i'm afraid. The rice and the beans!

13:15

Comment From Lincoln Have you found anything that could be a threat to your local enviroment?

13:15

Comment From 11MurrB Are there any harmful animals that you wouldn't expect to be harmful???? From Our Lady's Abingdon :)

13:15

Comment From 11RidlM How many species of poisonous animals are there?

13:17

Tom - Nature Live: We are in a national park so it is protected but around the park there are lots of pineapple plantations which are a threat. The data we collect will help the conservation of the national park. Alex is publishing a checklist of plant species for the national park and it has over 3000 different species. Around 60 are endemic which means they are not found anywhere else Harmfull animals are the insects - they bite and suck and are making me itchy! Not sure on the numbers of poisonous animals - i'll ask one of the porters!

13:17

Comment From our ladys What food sources do you recognise?

13:18

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus [Reminder: Tom's internet connection is very slow, so we are letting him answer a few questions before the next ones are posted.]

13:19

Tom - Nature Live: That's a difficult one! I'll have to ask one of the botanists!

13:19

Comment From Burrington School Have you seen any poo throwing monkeys?

13:19

Comment From Lincoln How do you go to the toilet?


13:21

Tom - Nature Live: Not yet - no poo throwing monkeys. I'll keep a look out and a hat on! In terms of food sources there are palm hearts (the centre of palm trees) but not much else. Toilet - now this is a good one. We have a toilet which does flush (using water from a stream) and then the waste goes into a pit. This is a luxury for field work but it is pretty disgusting - i always check for snakes as well!

13:22

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton Chittle-what is the sleeping situation indoors or out?

13:22

Comment From Burrington School Do you have nets around your bed to protect you from insects?

13:24

Tom - Nature Live: We have bunks made of wood and we put our mats on them. We are indoors but it is very drafty. It is a rickety hut. The best way to describe it is that the rain is kept out but everything else (the wind, mist and insects) can get in! We don't have nets because there is no risk of malaria. At this camp at night it gets quite cold so there are not too many insects

13:24

Comment From Lincoln How often do you have to communicate with the locals.

13:24

Comment From Ivvet are you practicing your Spanish?

13:24

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton What do dislike about being there? Are you missing anything from England?

13:25

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus [Reminder: Tom's internet connection is very slow, so we are letting him answer a few questions before the next ones are posted. If we don't manage to answer all your questions during the live chat, we'll be posting them to the forum so that Tom can answer them there for you over the course of the next few days.]


13:27

The view through a clearing in the canopy on the way to our 'home' hut

13:27

Tom - Nature Live: Nobody live in the national park but we have porters who are locals in that they live just outside they are incredible. I carried one little bag yesterday and the walk took me just over 6 hours. One young porter took two huge bags and 5 litres of water and ran it in 4 hours! My spanish is very bad but i do get to practice! At the moment I don't miss much - it is so beautiful here and so peaceful. I'd quite like a bath but that will have to wait till I'm back home!

13:27

13:27

Comment From 11RidlM What is the rarest animal in costa rica?


In the midst of thick forest

13:27

Comment From 11MurrB Are there any animals that you found over there that you would find over here???? Our Lady's Abingdon :)

13:28

Comment From our ladys What is the biggest living animal in Costa Rica

13:28

Comment From Phil at Chittlehampton Chittlehampton-good morning and goodbye Tom-

13:29

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Bye Chittlehampton - thank you for joining us this afternoon!

13:29

Tom - Nature Live: Not sure on the rarest - there is a bird called the resplendent quetzal which birdwatchers travel from all over the world to see. I like the hummingbirds that buzz around our camp! The animals here are pretty different from the uk! Check out this beetle grub! Thanks Chittlehampton and Our Ladys!

13:29

A large beetle grub

13:29

Comment From Lincoln How high above sea level are you?


13:30

Tom - Nature Live: We are 2500 metres above sea level!

13:30

Comment From Lincoln Have you found any epiphytes?

13:30

Comment From our ladys Have you found any new species of plant or animal?

13:31

Comment From Burrington School Good bye and good luck, Tom. Hope the rest of your stay is uneventful! Burrington School

13:31

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Thank you Burrington. Keep in touch with Tom on his blog!

13:31

Tom - Nature Live: Yes lots - the trees have so much growing on them. I'll put a photo in a minute. No new species yet but Holger has found 2 new records for lichens - that means he has found things that no-one knew where growing here. The scientists are just about to set off for the day so here's hoping they get some cool stuff! Thanks Burrington!

13:31

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Comment From 11Colbb My question:Have you always been really interested in science and especially plants?

Comment From Guest what type of plants are you looking at?

Tom - Nature Live: we are studying lichens (Holger), bryophytes which are mosses, liverworts and hornworts (Jo) and flowering plants (Alex and Neil)

Comment From Lincoln Google Maps shows you are quite close to the snow line. Are you going that far up?


13:33

Comment From 11DaviJ What is the temperature in Costa Rica? Our lady's Abingdon

13:33

Comment From 11SmitD When was the last volcano eruption in Costa Rica? Was it serious?

13:35

Tom - Nature Live: yes - it could possible get frosty at night! in San Jose it was quite warm (around 20C) but up here it is much cooler. The nights are between freezing and 6C but the days are lovely, very fresh and pleasant! Not sure on the volcano - i'll ask a porter and get back to you. they set off this morning to get more supplies and will be back tonight, i'll let you know!

13:35

Comment From Our Ladys How long do you have to stay up and work for, and how long is the sun up for???

13:37

Tom - Nature Live: the sun is up for 12 hours from 6 till 6. We get up at around 5:30 and go to bed really early, like 7:30 or 8! It's 7:30 in the morning now and looks like this...

13:37

my set-up!

13:37

Comment From Lincoln How serious was the last earthquake?

13:37

Comment From Our Ladys what is the rarest animal in costa rica?


13:39

13:39

Tom - Nature Live: not sure on earthquakes or the rarest animal - sorry! I'll find out today and get back to you!!!

Comment From Lincoln How much precipitation do you get?

13:40

Tom - Nature Live: loads! the air is very moist and it rained all last night. I don't know if anyone knows the exact levels but it is incredibly wet!

13:40

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Hi Tom, here's one submitted by email from Murphy: What is the most popular creature you have seen?

13:40

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus And this one is from Sayhon W: Are any plants good for medicine?

13:43

Comment From Mrs B Hi Tom, it's william brookes school here. How are you

13:43

Tom - Nature Live: There is a bird called the resplendent quetzal which birdwatchers travel from all over the world to see. Look it up it is very fancy! I like the hummingbirds that buzz around our camp and we also get lots of fireflies! I'll try and get some film of them. Medicine - the honest answer is we don't know. The role of the NHM and our scientists on this trip is to find out exactly what lives on our planet and then other people can work out what it does! Because we don't yet know what lives here (in the park) we don't know if there are any medicines or not. That might be the research of the next generation of scientists, which could be you!

13:44

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Comment From Our Ladys Do you have to look out for any poisonous spiders when you go to the toliet???

Comment From Our Ladys Which plants(or animals) are at most risk from global warming or collecters?

Tom - Nature Live: Hi William Brookes, i'm very well thanks! I hope allis good with you.


13:46

Tom - Nature Live: Poisonous toilet spiders - aarrgghh i hope not! I always check before sitting down! Costa Rica has amazing bird which are a threat from collectors - most are protected but there is illegal collecting. We are in a national park so it is protected but around the park there are lots of pineapple plantations which are a threat. The data we collect will help the conservation of the national park. Alex is publishing a checklist of plant species for the national park and it has over 3000 different species. Around 60 are endemic which means they are not found anywhere else.

13:46

Comment From Our Ladys Do you just take photos or do tyou collect data - if so what do you measure and record and why???

13:46

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Another couple of questions via email from Ruth S: How many different animals have you seen? Are they strange?

13:46

Comment From Our Ladys Our Lady's Abingdon - Thanks a lot, we really enjoyed that and hope to see and hear from you soon. Got to go back to lessons now :)

13:47

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Thank you Our Lady's Abingdon. Great to have you join in!

13:47

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus [Reminder: Tom's internet connection is very slow, so we are letting him answer a few questions before the next ones are posted. If we don't manage to answer all your questions during the live chat, we'll be posting them to the forum so that Tom can answer them there for you over the course of the next few days.]

13:50

Tom - Nature Live: Thanks Our Ladys! When we collect we go to a certain area and have a look around. We collect anything particularly interesting, unusual or important. This means we take a cutting (or the whole plant) and press it between newspaper. We then tie these press plants up with string so that the stay flat. We note down the location, time and any other pieces of information. These plants then go into a herbarium (a collection of pressed plants) so that the can be studied. We are VERY careful not to collect too much or kill off anything that there isn't lots of. Unusual animals? Fireflies are great they glow green at night!

13:50

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Hi Tom, another question by email, this one from John K: Have you passed any waterfalls?

13:50

Comment From Sophia what have you found so far ?

13:50

Comment From Alex What have you found in Costa


Rica?

13:51

Comment From St Leonards Primary Hi, sorry we couldn't join you any sooner. We have put a few phots on of our school field's biodiversity. Hope all is well in Costa Rica!

13:51

Comment From Jonathan NaturePlus Hi St. Leonards Primary!

13:52

Tom - Nature Live: We've passed lots of stream with rapids but no waterfalls yet! Today is the first day we are going out to collect so we haven;t got too much too report as of yet but yesterday Holger found 2 new records for lichens in a nearby stream - that means he has found things that no-one knew where growing here. The scientists are just about to set off for the day so here's hoping they get some cool stuff!

13:52

13:52

Comment From Alex What is the most cutest animal you have seen so far?

Tom - Nature Live: Hello St. Leonards!

13:52

Comment From Lincoln What is being done to protect wildlife in the area?

13:52

Comment From Grace NHM Question from Cerys in Abingdon via email: What’s your favorite part of Costa Rica?

13:52

Comment From Lincoln Have you seen any evidence of deforestation or mining yet?

13:54

Tom - Nature Live: The area is a national park so is protected. The data we collect will help the conservation of the national park. Alex is publishing a checklist of plant species for the national park and it has over 3000 different species. Around 60 are endemic which means they are not found anywhere else Cutest animal - hummingbirds are amazing There is no deforestation in the park but all around it as we drove here on Monday we saw areas being cleared for pineapple production.

13:54

Comment From sophia&alex what is the weather like ?


13:56

13:56

Comment From Lincoln We can't see anything because we have a few inches of snow here at the moment. Is the weather likely to hinder you in your research?

Tom - Nature Live: Favourite part of CR is right here in the jungle - it's so beautiful. The weather is very changeable depending what side of the continental divide you are on. We started on the pacific and the crossed into the Atlantic The forest changed dramatically once we were on the Atlantic side – on the Pacific side our path had been dry and dusty but once we crossed over, the forest was damper, darker, cooler and wetter. This is because the prevailing wind blows from the west. The wind picks up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and carries it to the western Atlantic slopes of the forest before dumping it there. Because less water therefore reaches the Pacific side, it’s much drier.

13:57

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13:58

Comment From Lincoln We have to go back to lessons now. Thanks for answering our questions. Have a great time in Costa Rica, Tom.

Comment From Jonathan NaturePlus Thank you Lincoln. Have a great afternoon!

Tom - Nature Live: The rain is not problem - we just get wet. I hope you are enjoying your snow! Food - lots of rice and beans and some tined tuna! Very simple stuff. Thanks Lincoln! Have a nice weekend!

13:58

Comment From sophia&alex what is the most amazing animal you have seen ?

13:58

Comment From St Leonards Primary We are all desperate to know whether the monkeys have been throwing anything at you yet? Apologies if that one has already come up!

13:59

Comment From Grace NHM Here is a link to the co-ordinates Tom gave earlier in the chat about where he is in the World:http://goo.gl/A0Vge I had to put them into google maps like this 09 06 41, -82 57 42. Schools- can you explain why West has got to be a negative number?

14:00

Tom - Nature Live: No poo throwing monkeys yet! I hope I do get to see them, maybe next week when we go down the mountain a little bit. Amazing animals - hummingbirds and fireflies are brilliant! I


14:01

Comment From Grace NHM Great adjectives Tom, makes me wish I'd concentrated more in Literacy! Helped me to picture the scene anyway...I'm off to look up the oceans you just mentioned

14:02

Comment From Lincoln West of GM is negative. We aren't specifying north or south.

14:02

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus A question by email from Jack D: Approximately what is the size of Costa Rica?

14:03

Comment From St Leonards Primary Enjoy the rest of you trip - communicate soon!

14:04

Comment From Jonathan NaturePlus Thanks St. Leonards. See you again!

14:05

Tom - Nature Live: Jack D: it's fairly small as a country - about half the size of England Thanks St Leonards!

14:08

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14:05

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus A cracking question by email from Maisy: Are there any food products that they [Costa Ricans] eat that we don’t, or do?

14:05

Comment From Lincoln Wwhat is the longest river in Costa Rica? Have you followed any of them?

Comment From Mrs B Thanks Tom, We got to go back to lessons now! Speak soon!

Tom - Nature Live: Not sure on teh longest river, sorry! Different foods - well, aside from the rice and beans they have some amazing fruits like guava, and they eat plantain which is like banana but you fry it - it's delicious. They also have tortilla breads which are flat and made form corn. The are great too. The porters who are helping us love there sweets! We eat this stuff called supercoco which is a lolly made from sweet caramel milk. Very nice and it keeps you going on a long walk. they drink lots of coke and coffee.


14:09

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Tom - Nature Live: Cheers Mrs B - have a good Friday!

Comment From Lincoln How fertile is the soil over in Costa Rica?

Tom - Nature Live: That is an interesting question because although it is very fertile (it is volcanic) and it supports amazing forests it responds very badly to farming or growing food crops. That is why it is so important to keep the forest protected. If the forest is cut down for farming the soil quickly becomes very poor. Good question!

Comment From Lincoln How much longer is the expedition going to last? Does time feel like it is dragging by over there, or is it going really quickly?

Tom - Nature Live: I'm having a great time! We are so busy hiking or collecting plants or doing jobs around the the time flies by! I love it. I return to London on the 23rd Feb.

14:13

Comment From Lincoln We do now have to get to class! have a fantastic time, chat soon!

14:13

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus A final question from our emails - AbiF and Michaela R ask: Did you have to have any tablets or injections before you go?

14:13

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Thank you everyone at Lincoln, have a great day.

14:14

Tom - Nature Live: Yep - can't remember which though! Maybe DTP (diphtheria, polio and tetanus) and hepatitis (A, B or C - can't remember!) Cheers Lincoln, great questions!

14:16

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Hi that's it for the day. Thank you every body who took part in the live chat. We hope you enjoyed it! Any questions we missed or didn't manage to answer, we hope to do so in our forums. Keep an eye on them. Over to Tom for a final good bye!


14:18

Tom - Nature Live: Yep, thanks guys - my fingers are burning form answering your brilliant questions! Your interest is a real inspiration. I'm off to have some (more) rice and beans and then into the forest! Take care. Tom

14:18

Comment From Jonathan - NaturePlus Bye Tom. Looking forward to Day 4's blog!

14:19

Comment From Grace NHM Bye from me too- thanks everyone. Have a great half term, remember to check the blog for updates...and let's see what the species are like near where you live!

Tom Live chat questions Costa Rica Thu 9th Feb 2010  

What do schools want to know about Natural History Museum scientists' fieldwork? Read the questions asked by seven primary and secondary sch...

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